Chris Armstrong Mountain Bike Officer
Chris looks after all things mountain biking in Northern Ireland ...it's a tough job but someone's gotta do it!
January 17, 2017
December 13, 2016
December 6, 2016
November 30, 2016
November 23, 2016
The Sperrins stretch along the border of counties Tyrone and Derry and can best be described as wild, untouched and beautiful. Spanning 40 miles, the Sperrins mountain range is the largest in Ireland and walkers can expect undulating hills covered in heather, quiet valleys and boggy uplands literally teeming with wildlife.
This 48 hour itinerary showcases great walking, fantastic food and incredible scenery - everything that makes the Sperrin Mountains so special. Click here for a Full List of Walks in The Sperrins.
Friday Night: Head into the village of Draperstown and sample the sumptuous menu at The Apparo. This cosy boutique Hotel and Restaurant offers an exclusive dining experience using high quality, fresh local produce without breaking the bank.
Saturday: Robber's Table - Kick off with an excellent 9 mile circular walk opening up views of the Bluestack and High Sperrin Mountain ranges with a landscape criss-crossed with hedgerows and miles of old stone walls. Many tales are told of highwaymen who rode the post roads across the Sperrins and divided their spoils on the ridge of ‘Robber’s Table’. Full walk details here - www.walkni.com/Walk.aspx?ID=116
Go Green: The Deli on the Green in Moygashel serves the freshest foods, sourced from a selection of local artisan producers. There is always a welcoming atmosphere here and you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as an Early Bird special.
Splash Out: The Carleton Restaurant at the Corick House Hotel epitomises elegant dining. There is a fantastic interior superbly decorated with sparkling chandeliers and guests are served the finest of local produced cuisine from an award winning Head Chef.
Sunday: Banagher Glen - Located in the north Sperrins, this is one of the largest and least disturbed stretches of old semi-natural woodland in Northern Ireland. Twisted oaks cling precariously to the steep cliffs above the Glenedra and Altnaheglish rivers and there is a very pleasant 2 mile walk on surfaced paths offering stunning views of this wonderful region. Legend tells that one of the pools in Banagher Glen is home to the last snake in Ireland. St Patrick was unable to drive this giant serpent out of the country so instead trapped it forever at this site. Full walk details here - www.walkni.com/Walk.aspx?ID=169
Accommodation: Click here for details of some walker-friendly accommodation options in the Sperrin Mountains or contact Omagh Tourist Information Centre on 028 8224 7831.
Maps: Sperrins Activity Map from the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland or purchase on the OSNI Website.
Not forgetting the neely refurbished Ponderosa, Irelands highest pub (proven). Grest base for a walk in Glenshane Forest to the Priests chair Read more >
Who says the day has to end when the sun goes down? It may be dark outside by 5 p.m. but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
The Hoff may not have made an appearance but this didn’t stop the inaugural Nightrider from being a great success! Guided by the moon and the stars (as well as a few of the latest in technology ultra bright bike lights) enthusiastic mountain bikers of all abilities met at Clearsky HQ in Castle Ward. The centre is situated at the head of the newly opened Mountain Bike Trails which provided the perfect setting for this off road moonlit experience.
OutdoorNI.com caught up with Craig from Belfast to find out how he got on at Clearsky Adventure Centre’s brand new event.
A keen road cyclist, Craig had not been on a mountain bike in seven years. Previously sticking to bashing out the miles along tarmac roads he decided it was now time for a change. Intrigued by Nightrider he gathered a few mates together and headed down to Castle Ward.
“I’ve been to Castle Ward before but never with a bike so it was good to try something different” explained Craig.
You do not have to be an avid mountain biker to take part; in fact you don’t even have to own a mountain bike! Included in the price of the session Craig was able to rent a top quality VITUS mountain bike from Clearsky’s extensive store. Proving that this event is for all skill levels he explained “The group was made up of all different abilities but it didn’t matter. We were taken round the trails so we knew what to expect and then we were given our own freedom to get stuck in.”
Asked how it compared to biking in the daylight Craig responded “Obviously it’s very different in terms of what you can see. It definitely increases the difficulty of the trails but the challenge was great.”
And the best bit? “The whole thing! The event was very well organised, the bike and equipment were top quality and the people were great craic. My only complaint is that I wish it had lasted longer!”
Craig was keen to recommend the event to others stating that “it doesn’t matter what skill you have because everyone is able to go at their own pace. I am more used to road cycling however I didn’t have trouble picking it up. After about 5 minutes to get used to the different bike I was good to go!”
Having experienced the dark depths of the forest trails by bike Craig is already looking forward to the next Nightrider.
So whether you’re a mountain biking junkie or simply someone wanting to try something completely different this unique activity is sure to fit the bill. Mountain biking under the moonlight - it’s hard to think of a better way to spend a weekday evening!
OutdoorNI.com Gift Vouchers are now available. Treat a friend or loved one with an experience they’ll never forget!
Clearsky Adventure Centre.
Castle Ward Estate,
+44(0)28 4372 3933
£25 - includes mountain bike and light rental as well as entry into the Castle Ward Estate.
£12.50 - includes the hire of bike lights and entry into the Castle Ward Estate.
Normal booking conditions apply. Subject to availability.